What Exactly Is a Steam Shower (and Is It Worth It)?

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated November 9, 2021
luxury marble steam shower
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  • Steam shower installation costs between $4,000 and $14,000

  • A steam shower can provide an ROI of up to 30%

  • Health benefits include cardiovascular, stress reduction, and more

  • There are kits that you can purchase which come with a generator and some of the materials

  • Hiring a contractor to install is recommended over DIYing

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Yes, you could pack up and head to the gym to take a steam shower—but then you might feel pressured to work out when you just need to relax. But what if you brought the steam room to your home? Learn what a steam shower is, what the installation process is like, and most importantly, whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

What Is a Steam Shower?

A steam shower is a moisture-sealed shower stall without a bathtub that traps steam without running hot water. This is accomplished by running a steam generator, which can be purchased alone or along with a steam shower kit. 

Usually, the steam generator is stashed in a closet, in the attic, or in cases where the home has been built with the shower, under the house.

What Are the Benefits of a Steam Shower?

steam shower with bench
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Human beings have been enjoying the benefits of steam rooms since as early as the Neolithic period 12,000 years ago. Of course, they have been updated a tad since then.

Aesthetic Benefits

Although they’re called “showers,” a steam shower is not used to lather, rinse, and repeat. But sitting in a steam-filled enclosure comes with a whole host of benefits. 

Often used by aestheticians during facials, steam can help with skin purifying. Because you tend to sweat in a steam shower, dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria get pushed out of your skin, helping your pores clear out.

Health Perks

Aside from possible aesthetic perks, steam bathing can offer a whole host of other health benefits, including improved circulation, reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular problems, and high blood pressure, reduction in headaches and neurocognitive problems, and more.

Steam is also good for relieving a stuffy or runny nose due to allergies or viruses. It is also suggested for relief from muscle pain from exercising, strain, or arthritis.

Stress Reduction

Steam showers are designed to be relaxing, and if yours is equipped, adding essential oils can be a nice boost to a regular steam. Be sure to check if your system has an aromatherapy component before adding essential oils to your water, since they can damage the system if it’s not designed to handle them.

What Are the Downsides to a Steam Shower?

Steam showers are expensive to install—aside from the shower itself, you have to make sure you have good ventilation in the bathroom. If you don’t have the design just right, steam showers can cause mildew and other moisture problems like mold that are difficult and costly to get rid of. 

Also, if you’re not going to use it often enough, you’re probably better off putting your money elsewhere and just visiting a spa to get your steam fix.

Cost to Install a Steam Shower

The average cost to install a steam shower, including kit and labor, is about $4,300. If you’re looking to have a custom steam shower installed, that runs between $4,000 and $14,000. The price will vary depending on the type of materials your contractor uses, the thickness of the glass, and the steam generator you choose. 

Steam generators that hold a higher volume of water and require more power cost more. According to HomeAdvisor, steam showers usually provide an ROI of up to 30% when or if you decide to sell your home.

Converting Your Shower Stall to a Steam Shower

If you’re planning to install a steam shower in an existing glass stall shower, your contractor will still need to put in some work. And the other materials in your shower matter—if you have walls that are made of concrete, glass block, marble, or granite, heat will dissipate more quickly because those are more porous materials than acrylic, ceramic, or porcelain tiles. 

You’ll also need to have tiles put on the ceiling where it will be exposed to steam to prevent moisture from escaping and to retain the heat.

Who Should I Hire to Install a Steam Shower?

If you decide to buy a steam shower kit, which comes with a generator, fittings, and heads, you’ll still need to hire a plumber and an electrician. Electrical work is dangerous, and a plumbing mistake can be very costly. 

A local shower installer who specializes in bathrooms or tiles and who is licensed, bonded, and insured is your best bet for installation.

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